by Scott Stewart
December 21, 2013, LA MIRADA, California (ISN) – The Trinity Western Spartans men’s basketball team finished their three game California tour on a high note with an impressive 83-56 win over the Biola University Eagles Saturday afternoon in La Mirada, Calf.
The Spartans defence, which held Biola to 27 percent shooting, and first half ball control helped TWU to the win and moved them to 1-2 on the tour as they return home for the Christmas break.
“It’s great to end the year on a big win, and nice to see team look after ball in first half. Three turnovers is a pleasant surprise and 13 assists was even better,” commented TWU head coach Scott Allen. “We went back to our old ways in second half and the stats show that. Our consistency has to improve for us to have a strong second half of season.”
“Were on the right path and feel with better acceptance of our roles we will be a playoff bound team. The willingness to sacrifice our individual tendencies is key. Every little success we have confirms that our direction is a growing and positive one.”
The Spartans made the trek from Canada to play the Eagles, and they made out like bandits after putting up dominant numbers against Biola’s inconsistent defence. The win pushes TWU to 9-10 on the season and drops the Eagles to 8-5, just their second loss in their last nine contests.
Biola shot abysmally throughout the night, missing the tough shots and some easy, open looks to go just 16-60 from the floor.
Trinity Western’s propensity to foul kept the Eagles in the contest early on, as they were at the free throw line with 11 chances through the first 11 minutes. Foul trouble continued to follow TWU throughout the night, as Biola shot 32 chances from the free throw line, tied for their most attempts in a single game this season.
Biola had a lot of chances, but could not convert from the line with consistency either, shooting just 20-32.
It was not only the offence that struggled, but Biola’s defence seemed lethargic all game long, letting the Spartans take the ball to the rim or get open looks from deep throughout the 40 minutes.
TWU let off 23 shots from behind the arc, cashing in on eight of them, and managed a massive 38 points in the paint. Some of their interior production was slowed just a bit when two of their big men fouled out late in the second half.
The Spartans came out victorious in rebounding, leading Biola in defensive boards by 13. TWU had three players reach double-digits, led by Denny McDonald whose 19 was second only to Biola’s Murillo’s 20. McDonald and Murillo both had double-doubles, picking up 10 and 13 rebounds, respectively.
Trinity Western’s overall athletic ability helped them create and sustain the pressure on Biola and its coaching staff, constantly subbing and changing schemes to get 41 bench points and force 18 turnovers.
The Spartans, who led 43-26 at the half, quickly built a seven-point lead four minutes into the first half, and did not relinquish the advantage the entire game, leading wire-to-wire.
Trinity Western continues Canada West conference play on January 10-11 in Winnipeg against the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg.
Biola faces another Canadian team next weekend, as they square off with the University of Victoria Vikes on Dec. 30.
Game Notes: the Spartans finished the night shooting just over 50 percent from the field, 30-59…last season Biola defeated TWU 61-56 in La Mirada…